So I FINALLY saw my first episodes of The Voice this week. I caught up on Monday's 12 performances on Tuesday via Comcast OnDemand (I definitely will DVR next time because OnDemand makes you watch alllll the commercials ugh) and then I watched Tuesday's Live show as it happened. After just those two episodes I'm starting to get a better idea of why The Voice pales in comparison to the early years of American Idol. Unfortunately, I can't compare it to Idols current shows because some of what made Idol so popular is now gone. In fact it now appears that The Voice is winning the TV ratings battle each week despite having some weaker elements - American Idol was viewed by 8+ million people and The Voice viewed by 11+ million people this past week.
Okay now on with the show comparison:
Hosts - Carson Daly is a good enough host for the Voice but lets face it, he's no Ryan Seacrest. Ryan has two things that Carson lacks, a unique sounding voice (how ironic) and a much stronger TV personality. He is just much more interesting to watch and listen to. The banter between Ryan and the Idol judges was almost always fun and helped make us tune in week after week.
Judges - Musically speaking Shakira, Usher, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine have it all over many of the Idol judges of the past. But folks this is a live TV show where these judges are mostly talking and not singing. On their worst TV day, Idol judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson were infinitely more interesting to watch then the current crop of judges on the Voice. Its not that they "look" better, but they are much more interesting TV personalities (and yep this is a TV show :)). Part of the reason we watch these shows at all is the judges - you watch to see and hear what they will do and say next.
Theme Music - No comparison - Idol's instrumental theme music was always energizing even after many seasons - I listen to the The Voice for two episodes and their "This is the Voice" theme music is just bland bland bland - I can't believe they haven't come up with something better - there's just no excuse for a musical show to have a theme like that.
Contestants - This is where The Voice generally comes out on top - with just a few exceptions. I am finding the Voice contestants having better voice and performance chops at this stage in the show than the Idol contestants I used to watch (haven't seen Idol for a few years). I'll detail some more of this in a future blog but there were several standout Voices including Tess Boyer, Audra McLaughlin and Josh Kaufman
Shakira Lipsyncs through Empire
Yes the word on the street is Shakira lip synced through her performance of "Empire" this week on the show. I'm here to tell you that yep it's absolutely true - I told my wife as we watched the show - "she's not even singing and this is a singing competition where she's supposed to be "coaching" the contestants" - what the heck is that all about!! Sure the performance was visually stunning with the fire on the stage, her outfit and well Shakira herself of course. But if you can't pull it off singing it live on a singing show then "just don't do it". The only caveat here is maybe The Voice and Shakira did this on purpose just to get the people talking more about the Voice on social media (this would not surprise me at all). Check it out here for yourself and see what you think - Mayyyybe she's singing the first couple lines live but after that no wayyyy!
Phillip Phillips catching on with "Raging Fire"
Since we're talking about fire and music, American Idol 2012 winner Phillip Phillips is catching on at radio again with his new song "Raging Fire". When I first heard the song I didn't really think much of it. It definitely pales in comparison to "Home" (Top 10 on the Billboard chart and 4 million sold) and "Gone Gone Gone" (Top 25 Billboard and 1 million sold). But something about "Raging Fire" makes it start to stick in your head and I think it's the "come out come out come out" part that started playing in my head when I started waking up each morning. This still won't propel "Raging Fire" to "Home" or "Gone" heights but it will ensure that Phillip Phillips, with perhaps his "worst" single, is still miles above the success rate of any winning contestant on The Voice so far. See my previous blog post below for more on this "Will the VOICE find its VOICE with its Season 6 Winner?"
That's all for today kiddies - Have a gggreat weekend and I'll be back shortly with another post on new music and musical happenings in the world.
Peace, Love & Laughter
~Vincent James @ LoveSongs.com